News & Events

Abernethy to replace Butcher in Origin team

With Zac Butcher having been red carded in Melbourne and facing suspension until early September, Jay Abernethy has by way of the number of driving wins recorded last season, been selected as Zac’s replacement for the North Island team in the Island of Origin.

Fondly known as the worlds fastest Indian in northern harness racing circles Jay was thrilled to hear of his selection. The north has been somewhat decimated this year with injuries to Frank Cooney and Peter Ferguson, the unavailability of Mark Purdon on holiday after a stellar season and now Zac Butchers suspension.

The teams for each island side are:

North Island

South Island

Tony Herlihy
David Butcher
Phillip Butcher
Nicky Chilcott
Josh Dickie
Jay Abernethy
Anthony Butt
Matthew Williamson
Dexter Dunn
Ricky May
Blair Orange
Brent Mangos

The north, given the obvious strength of the southern side, would appear to face an uphill battle in trying to wrestle the trophy back from the south who won comprehensively last year.

Matty Williamson, last years top individual, will once again represent the south.

Nicky Chilcott will be the first woman to have competed in the series and, currently being on 499 driving wins, may well bring up the elusive 500th during the series.

Stephen Richardson, the TAB’s harness bookmaker, has indicated a number of betting options will be in place including

  • North  v  South
  • Individual Winner
  • Three or Four head to head options


It is hoped a minimum of four races will be held but if sufficient nominations are received additional races will be included in the series, which carry the added bonus of being penalty free.

Final fields will be known on the morning of Tuesday 28th August, with the naming of drivers for each horse to be published on Wednesday morning.